Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cadbury Gems Ganesha, Inorbit Mall

 || Vakratunda Mahakaaya Suryakoti Samaprabha ||
|| Nirvighnam Kuru Mey Deva Sarva Kaaryeshu Sarvada ||

A Ganesha idol entirely made of Cadbury Gems. How cool is that!!. This is for display at Hypercity, Inorbit Mall, Hyderabad.

Kudos to their patience in creating this master piece. :-)


Saturday, May 26, 2012

{Post Daily 2012} Day 8 - Book 4: The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Couple of months ago, my virtual book club members voted for The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella as our group read. (Can You Keep A Secret? fame).

The story in a nutshell -

"Samantha Sweeting works as a successful lawyer for one of the London's top law firms. She dedicates her entire life to Carter Spink and one day, circumstances change and she is forced to flee to the country side and join as domestic help for a wealthy couple - only to find and realise what life and true love is all about."

The story line is very much similar to countless summer reads written by many many others. But Sophie's witty and humorous writing is what makes this book a fun, easy read.

...and then there are some flaws as well - like for instance it is hard to believe that somebody who couldn’t boil an egg before, learns how to cook gourmet restaurant quality meals, bakes fresh bread in a matter of only a few weeks. and a special mention about its climax. Its seems straight out of Karan Johar's movie where the heroine realizes her true love for the hero and runs behind him, except that here she dressed as a lawyer rather than a jewelry-clad bride.

I say, don't take the story too seriously (just like KJo's movies), enjoy the journey of the protagonist and it will turn out to be an entertaining read. This will definitely appeal to those who are lovers of chick-lit books.

My Rating - 3 out 5 stars


Previously Read:

Book 1- In the Convent of Little Flowers written by Indu Sundaresan 
Book 2 - The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Book 3 - The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by  Alexander McCall Smith

Friday, May 25, 2012

{Post Daily 2012} Day 7: My Pen Pal

It all began when we accidentally bumped into each other at a family function. I was 10 years old and he was 50. He introduced himself as my grand father's brother (which I never knew there existed one) and we started talking about random things - about butterflies, about people in general and finally about planets & stars. You see, he was working as a Professor at Anna University and he has so many interesting things to share.

After a month or so, my chinna tattya wrote a letter to me. It was two pages long with detailed diagrams about each of the planets in our solar system, the big bang theory etc. Then, very enthusiastically replied to that thanking him and asking more questions. He became my first pen pal. :-).

We wrote to each for many years, every month. He had answers to all of  my questions. Then once I graduated out of school, life became busier and we eventually lost touch.

Today, during the wee hours of my Saturday morning, I get a call from my dad that my pen pal is no more. He was 85 years old, bed ridden for more than 2 years now. I was aghast and suddenly flooded with memories about him, how my childhood days were filled with an anticipation of receiving his letters. It has been few years that I actually met him in person, but he was always in my thoughts. I had even made plans to visit him next month, but now I lost my chance before I could grab it.

As I hold tight to reminiscences of my pen pal, I bid adieu to this great man who was all about his principles, never took a rupee as bribe and lead a life of honesty and pride.

May his soul rest in peace. We will miss him - a lot.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

{Post Daily 2012} - Day 6 : Recipe Link Love

Every single day, my google reader gets filled with many stunning, beautifully photographed and comforting meals which manage to make me feel ravenous even after a sumptuous lunch/dinner. In an attempt to make you all hungry as well, am planning to start this weekly feature - Recipe Link Love - recipes that I absolutely loved, would want to make someday or even better, if anyone volunteers to make them for me. ;-). 

Here are this week's links - Enjoy!

1. If you are east coast, then you are one of the lucky ones who get to visit Qdoba and drool on their Mexican Gumbo. We did that for 5 years and now after moving back to India, am desperately craving for some. :-( My SIL blogged the recipe  a while ago, to pacify my cravings. But it only increased my want. (Also check out Qdoba Tortilla Soup from their FB page)

2. Love Quinoa and its nuttiness. It is definitely a taste to acquire. Here are the 5 most commonly made mistakes when cooking it. Recipes: Ignoring the not-so-great photographs for a moment, I think these two quinoa recipes are worth-a-try - Quinoa Vegetable Pancakes and Black eyed bean Quinoa with Caramalized Onions.

3. A complete "Gratin Know-how" by Deborah Madison and a delicious Yukon-Turnip Gratin to go with it.

4. Have you ever tried - Wallaby Down Under - Lots of Fruit, Low Fat Yogurt? Every week, my grocery cart had 14 of them (2 each day ;-)), while I was in Virginia. Probably its time to make some of my own. For Trader Joe's lovers, check this out. I hope they still stock it on their shelves.

5. I Love My India. Just like she does - for its diversity, rich heritage and the variety of cuisines which change by every city. ;-). As her first recipe, Anu posted authentic Rajasthani Daal Baati. Can't wait to see what she makes next! :-)

T.G.I.F tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

{Post Daily 2012} Day 5: Worth remembering..

Every word in the below quote is so true.. a reminder to live my life first and don't let others influence me in any way!

“Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

..point noted Mr. Jobs!


Monday, May 21, 2012

{Post Daily 2012} Day 3 - Postcrossing 1

A photo postcard can convey so much about a place, their culture, their architecture, their flora, their cuisine, their lifestyle in general. Isn't it? When I heard about post crossing from Rads, I thought  its such a cool idea to just - "send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!". I immediately signed up for it and now, my first set of 5 post cards are off to - Finland, US, China, Netherlands and Russia. For now, I bought some from a tourism shop. I plan make my own photo postcards with pictures I clicked, next time around. Yay!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

{Post Daily 2012} - Day 2: My first ever photo shoot!

“Traditions are the guideposts driven deep in our subconscious minds. The most powerful ones are those we can't even describe, aren't even aware of.”
 ~ Unknown

October 2011

This is my little sister who got married into a Tam-Brahm family. We, being Telugu-Brahmins, the ceremony last year was performed based on our traditions. But, her MIL had this strong desire to have some photographs clicked  in Tamilian attire as well.

..We had a photo shoot past was so much fun to see my sister dressed up as andal. Here are some candid moments from the shoot..

May 2012

Isn't she looking gorgeous. :-). I can't believe it has been already 7 months since they got hitched. Time sure flies. Wishing the couple many such happiest times ahead. Love to you both!

Follow the daily posts on twitter with hashtag - #postdaily2012


Saturday, May 19, 2012

{Post Daily 2012} - Day 1: The Beginning!

One of my favorite shots from Project 365 2011

Something just struck me..

140 days have passed in the year 2012. that means it has been 140 days since my Project 365 2011 ended. Much has changed since then..just to list a few..(not in any order)
- a loved one fell terribly sick which threw our lives into chaos for a short period of time.
- we moved cities.
-  a very close friend gave birth to twin daughters.
opened an account on goodreads & pinterest.
 - started to read regularly (took up this challenge of  24 books from 24 different authors)
- tweet a tad bit more
- wrote only 6 posts on this blog!

One thing the project 365 taught me and something I lack now is  - discipline.

Yes, many of us have jobs where we write code which always has bugs, then we write some more to fix them, a vicious circle of boredom. But, every day of 2011 I had few moments of bliss & respite, where I would just slip into a world where I thought what to photograph, edited and published on this blog. It used to rejuvenate me immensely and I crave for such moments now.

In short, I miss hitting the "Publish" button, more often...and I wonder what's stopping me to do so?

All I have to do is to make an effort to steal few minutes - to ramble,  to photograph or to just quote something. As long as we have a soul to stir, we always have something to say. Isn't it?

..hence this effort - #postdaily2012- I will not call it a challenge, as it is not! I am not challenging myself here.

Just want to get some discipline back into my life....the stories will unfold from tomorrow. :-)


Friday, February 17, 2012

Book 3: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Paperback: 235 pages
Published Date: February 6, 2003
Publisher: Anchor
My Rating: 4 out of 5

The protagonist here is, Precious Ramotswe, endearingly called as Mma Ramotswe who is  THE No. 1 and only lady detective in Africa. With a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone and an old typewriter, she is often found solving problems. Her clientele includes almost everybody - a poor teacher who lost his son in a remote village to a multi-billionaire who thinks is being outsmarted by his ex-employee. She has a unique persistence and fabulous observational skills with which she resolves each of her cases. Don't expect high-voltage thrilling scenes from the book. Just some old-fashioned common sense is required which make the characters very humane and realistic which I really liked.

The author, Alexander McCall Smith has indeed created a charming story out of Botswana, though originally he is from Scotland. It has an insider's feel about how people there live, think about their country and the slower pace of the book lets you visualize the images and characters. The interplay between the rural where Precious grew up and urban city background where is currently lives is quite interesting.

Thankfully there is no any emotional melodrama involved with any of the characters including the protagonist  which makes it a easy reading on a lazy afternoon. It is just one of those light-hearted, happy sort of book.

This is just Volume 1 of Mma Ramotswe's musings and some time soon, I plan to read rest of the volumes as well. The book received two Booker Judges' Special Recommendations and was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millennium by the Times Literary Supplement. HBO even produced a television series based on the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency novels. :-)

The next time you visit library, do remember about our Mma Ramotswe. Will you?

Next Book: Best Food Writing 2011 by Holly Hughes

Previously Read:

Book 1- India: In the Convent of Little Flowers written by Indu Sundaresan 
Book 2 - Spain: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Friday, February 3, 2012

Little Pranavi

Chubby Cheeks, dimple chin, Rosy lips, teeth within
Curly hair very fair, Eyes are blue, lovely too
Teacher’s pet, “is that you”, Yes, yes, yes..

Little Pranavi in the above pic, reminds me of this famous nursery rhyme...:-) You guys remember?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Book 2: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Paperback: 496
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published Date: January 25, 2005
My Rating: 4 out of 5

It was sometime last week when I was at Hyderabad airport to catch my early morning flight to Bangalore. That was when I saw this book in the Fiction section. I already knew Nags was reading the same and curiosity built since then. Out of habit, I read the excerpt behind the book and found it very intriguing. For the next 15 mins, I found myself completely engrossed in it and almost miss my flight. Here is a jist of what is it all about:

"Hidden in the heart of the old city of Barcelona is the 'Cemetry of Forgotten Books', a labyrinthine library of obscure and forgotten titles. To this library a man brings his 10-year old son, Daniel on one cold morning in 1945. Daniel is allowed to choose one book and from the dusty shelves pulls The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. But as Daniel grows up, several people seem inordinately interested in his find. What begins as a case of literary curiosity turns into a race to find out the truth behind the life and death of Julian Carax and to save those he left behind".

The point that intrigued me the most is how the author managed to bring Julián Carax's and Daniel's characters to life which follow very similar trajectories, where one ends in tragedy and other in happiness. As you turn each of the pages, you can almost feel & smell the streets of Barcelona and how lives of many innocent people were shattered due to the war. Yet, there is every fathomable human experience one can think of in this book - love, friendship, compassion, lust, eccentricity, fear, hatred, jealousy and above all the gripping suspense which will make you want to read further. A true page-turner, I must say..

If there is anything I would rather change about this book is - it is just too long and sometimes the narrative can be slow. Nevertheless, the author manages to weave an intricate story and you will instantly fall in love with its rich language and vulnerable characters.

until next time,

Previously Read:

Book 1- India: In the Convent of Little Flowers written by Indu Sundaresan 
Book 2 - Spain: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Book 3 - Botswana: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Book 1: In the Convent of Little Flowers by Indu Sundaresan

Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Atria Books
Published Date: December 16, 2008
Amazon Kindle Edition
My Rating: 3 out of 5

As many of you already know, this year I have taken up a challenge to travel around the world through atleast 24 books. I chose In the Convent of Little Flowers written by Indu Sundaresan to be my first one. In short, the book is a collection of short stories (to which I am a great fan of) with each story set against different parts of rural and urban India. It touches many sensitive issues such as sati, domestic abuse, homosexuality and revolves around  marriage, friendship, death, betrayal etc.

One thing about this book is that - it slowly grows on you and draws you into it, atleast that's what happened to me. I just wanted to give up after reading the story "Three and a Half Seconds". Simply put, I felt so sad by its ending to continue further. I had to take a day break, come back and resume reading. On the other hand, "The Key's Club" is shocking. "The Most Unwanted" is heart-warming as you can feel what Nathan goes through and also with Parvati, who displays an innermost strength which is rarity in such circumstances. Even after completing the book, I still don't get the plot of "The Chosen One".

All in all, it is a good book.

A little plea to all indian authors out there -

"Please do write stories that are inspiring, make the reader feel happy inside-out rather than just stories that portray tragic lives with even more tragic endings. There is happiness and joy too, you see and am waiting to know and experience all of them. Thank you!"

Up Next - The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

until I finish my next book, signing off for now..

Previously Read:

Book 1- India: In the Convent of Little Flowers written by Indu Sundaresan 
Book 2 - Spain: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Book 3 - Botswana: The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 New Year Celebrations at Vaidehi Ashram, Hyderabad

Spent my first day of 2012 in the most amazing way possible at "Vaidehi Ashram" here in Hyderabad. It is home for about 108 girls who have no parents or a single parent who can no longer take care of them. By the end of the day, my heart swell with warmth and happiness. I am going to write about them in detail on my blog soon, so that you can experience, what I experienced and help them in whatever way you can. :-)

In the photograph - the youngest of all kids: [L-R] Vasavi & Samatha